English Teacher, English Department Head
Teaching experience at Columbia
Alice Pivniceru began her teaching career at Columbia in March of 2001, teaching English at the 4Z level. Since then, she has taught English courses at the 3C, 3U and 4U level, held the position of English Department Head (2012/2013, (2015-2016), and was instrumental in designing the Writer’s Craft curriculum, a course she has been teaching for over 10 years.
Ms. Pivniceru takes pride in seeing her students succeed and finds it most rewarding learning of their success in university; “They’ll come back to visit and tell me that they are more prepared for their academic studies than most local students.” Her knowledge and passion has truly enriched students’ learning experience. Her teaching style is also one to be admired as she finds unique ways to engage students and takes their education beyond standard textbooks.
Along with running the Columbia Chronicle, the student newspaper, Ms. Pivniceru created the Guest Author Series at Columbia. Each year, she invites an author, whose work her students’ are studying, into her class to offer students a unique experience. She thought it was a fun and interactive way to study literature that would give students a better understanding of the written work. Simply meeting an author and hearing them talk about their inspiration behind their work allows students to make a deeper connection between life and the story. The series has been well-received by students who appreciate the experience. Since 2006, students have met renowned authors, including Nino Ricci, Wayson Choy, Lawrence Hill and Vincent Lam.
Above all, Ms. Pivniceru strives to teach her students educational and life vales centered on responsibility and honesty. She ensures they are aware of standard classroom rules such as plagiarism and the importance of meeting deadlines. However she also makes it a point to teach good character like tolerance, compassion, and confidence; “As an educator, there is no greater reward than to have former students visit and proudly talk about their achievements and how they have exceeded their own expectations.”
Ms. Pivniceru earned her Master’s degree in English from McMaster University. Apart from English, she is fluent in Romanian and French and has proficiency in Spanish and Italian.